One of the perks for cabinet-level appointees is the government’s version of frequent flyer miles. For example, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta flies home to California and back every weekend on a military jet. He pays only a token amount.
Secretary of Justice Holder flies constantly on an FBI plane. The taxpayers cover the cost.
This is a nonpartisan tradition. Bush’s cabinet members did the same thing.
In 2008, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, a Bush appointee’s, use of government jets for personal travel came under scrutiny. McClatchy reported that Mr. Mukasey took so many trips to his home in New York on FAA, FBI or Drug Enforcement Administration planes that he was outside Washington a third of the time during a five-month period, and traveled to New York 45 times in an 11-month period.
The justification is that this is necessary for their safety. This is an extension of something like Secret Service protection for cabinet-level officials.
This indicates that senior-level officials are no longer safe from the public. This was not the case for the first two centuries of American history. But, according to the government, this has changed. It’s a new United States, where members of the public are ready to inflict harm of senior officials.
Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have demanded answers from the Obama White House. They will be successfully stonewalled. But it makes good copy in an election year.
“We are aware that the attorney general is required to travel by government aircraft for security purposes. We believe it is important to determine whether use of the FBI’s aircraft by the attorney general and other senior Department of Justice officials adheres to relevant statutes and policies, is cost-effective, and does not hinder the operational readiness of the FBI.”
The new America is marked by the “palace guard” mentality of the late Roman Empire. As the federal government extends its reach into our lives, the bureaucrats at the top enjoy a different lifestyle from the masses. We pay. They don’t.